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26
Mar 14

How can you tell when winter is over and spring officially starts in England?

I’ll tell you how. It turns bloody cold. The sun goes to sleep. You might even see pretty little snowflakes drifting in the air before a hail shower starts pouring down. (Although that depends which part of England you live in. This time last year, severe weather warnings were issued for snow storms in northwest England.)

And you break out the winter clothing you’d already packed away weeks ago.

 

Sheylara is cold

 

And the daffodils that sprang up in the final weeks of winter start to die.

 

Dead daffodils

 

Don’t you love it when seasons do as they’re advertised?

In other news, things are moving forward. Piers finally agreed that we’d done enough work on the flat. It’s time to sell it so we can buy our new home!

Yesterday, he made appointments with four estate agents to come and value the flat. Then he came home after work and decided to rip up part of the toilet flooring (I really don’t know what he was doing; I was busy cooking dinner) as well as paint the toilet cistern.

I don’t know if its just him, or are all Englishmen crazy like that?

 

Silly Piers

 

Anyway, our flat’s looking good now. The agents said on the phone that our area is in high demand so it shouldn’t take too long to move. Yay!

You might remember me mentioning that Piers and I are rubbish at keeping plants and flowers alive. We bought this decorative plant about a month ago:

 

Decorative plant

 

It didn’t fare very well under our care.

 

Dead plant

 

In the end, I decided to just buy fake plants. They look good enough and I never have to water them and they never get all slimy and disgusting or dry and flaky. IS THAT NOT JUST AWESOME?!

 

You never need to water me!
Snowdrops

 

I will never get all slimy and mouldy!
Tulips

 

I will never die!
Orchids

 

My lovelies! I have a weakness for white flowers. They make me feel calm and happy. I love them so much I want to hug them to sleep! But that would be rather uncomfortable.

Okay, that’s enough blogging. I want to get back to my games! Yeah, as if I haven’t got enough things to do with my life, I’ve bought South Park: The Stick of Truth (PC) and The Bard’s Tale (iPad). Oh dear.

Love, Sheylara
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Categories: Miscellaneous
18
Mar 14

You would think that our decision to cancel the wedding would have made me more relaxed and carefree. But one of my superpowers is my ability to always find something to stress about. In the last two months, this is what my stress superpower has come up with:

 

  1. Preparing the flat for sale (although this is more Piers’ doing).

    We’ve been working on it for months. At first I thought it was going to take two weekends, at the most, to declutter and clean, then it’s ready to go on the market.

    But Piers keeps coming up with something new to do every week. Like, paint the bathroom. Paint all the doors. Sand the bloody kitchen floor and get sawdust all over our furniture and MY STUFF. Varnish the floor, then paint that over with floor paint. Etc. We’ve gone to Homebase like five times to buy a different of paint each time. You get the idea.

     

    Home sweet home

  2.  

  3. Doing MOOCs (massive open online courses).

    These are free online courses offered by universities for anyone interested in learning a wide range of subjects offered. Check out FutureLearn (UK-based) and edX (USA based) if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

    I’m currently doing two courses: “The Secret Power of Brands” and “How to read… a mind” at FutureLearn (with two more lined up next month).

    I know it probably sounds to you like I’m trying to add to my plethora of superpowers but there’s nothing sinister going on there, I promise you. The first course teaches what goes behind successful brands and the second is all about cognitive poetics, which is the science of literary criticism and interpretation.

     

    Studying hard

  4.  

  5. Doing research on parenting and pregnancy.

    No, NO, I’m not pregnant. This is just a subject I’m very interested in, following my Montessori training. And I also think it’s never too early to get knowledgeable on the topic, whether you’re planning to have a kid now or in five years’ time.

    If anyone is ever going to have a child, I believe they owe it to their child to learn as much about children as possible so they don’t unintentionally stifle their physical, mental and social growth, all of which will play a huge part in the quality of the child’s future life.

     

    Kids playing

  6.  

  7. Eating healthy meals.

    I’m trying to, anyway, so am spending a lot of time cooking meals so that we stop eating supermarket junk meals or takeaway junk food all the time. Although I’m not quite sure my meals are healthier than junk food since I use a ridiculous amount of seasonings and sauces to make my meals tasty.

    Still, home cooked means we’re eating a lot more vegetables and I’m buying more organic and free range foodstuff, so all that has to count for something, right?

    But the point is that this is all very time-consuming, not just in the cooking and washing up part, but also the meal research/planning and grocery shopping.

     

    Yummy veges

  8.  

  9. Reading fan-translated English versions of Louis Cha’s novels.

    I’m currently going through the Condor trilogy, which is kind of like the Lord of the Rings of the Chinese literary world. But my god his novels are long. If Louis Cha (aka Jin Yong) were a JK Rowling type of writer, he could have turned one of his novels into 10, and made a hell lot of more money. (His stories are definitely way better than Harry Potter ones.) But he probably doesn’t need any more money, being currently the best-selling Chinese author alive (according to Wikipedia).

    I usually finish an average novel in one to three days. The first Condor novel took me three weeks. I had to slow down for the second novel because of all the above endeavours, and it’s taken me five weeks to get to 65%.

    Well, reading novels isn’t particularly a stressful endeavour but we all need something to do for pure pleasure and reading’s my poison. (Gaming used to be it but games aren’t what they used to be, with IAP models taking over the world, bah).

     

    2006 TV adaptation of Return of the Condor Heroes

 

So, that’s what’s current in my life. Believe me, there’s a lot more on the back burner waiting to occupy my time. Blogging is one of them. Blogging should never have left the “current” list but that’s just how it went.

There’s a bit of a story as to why I stopped blogging, part of which had to do with the failure of the designer I hired to code my new blog design last year, but that’s a bit boring to talk about after that long list I just made you read, so I won’t.

If you didn’t read any of the above and just scrolled to the bottom, here’s the td;lr version: I have been freaking busy, thanks in part to Piers’ over-ambition at doing up the flat just to sell it, and more in part to me studying too many subjects at once. Typical.

Now, let me get on with it.

Love, Sheylara
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Categories: Miscellaneous
23
Jan 14

Previously: Deciding a wedding on a coin toss

____________________________________________________________

 

I know you’ve all been eagerly awaiting news of the infamous coin toss, probably the most absurd coin toss in the history of coin tosses.

I would have kept everyone in suspense a bit longer (only because I’m lazy to blog about it right away), but stupid Piers scooped me by posting the result on Dayre IMMEDIATELY after the coin toss, which was just before we went to bed, so I had to wake up extra early this morning to write this piece before the news becomes too stale.

I always knew having a blogger partner was bad news!

 

Suspense

 

Alright, alright, I will for once skip being long-winded and come straight to the point.

The result is: No wedding for us.

We tossed the coin 11 times. I originally suggested doing “Best of 10″ because one toss felt too flippant and flukish. And, sure enough, 10 tosses ended up in a tie, so we had to do a tie-breaker toss. And the tie-breaker said no.

That was it.

 

NO!

 

So, both Piers and I went to bed rather sad.

I know. You are now going to say, “If you’re sad, that means you want the wedding, so JUST DO IT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.”

But if the last coin had landed the other way, we would have gone to bed stressed and afraid. Either way, it was going to be bad news.

I know that sounds very ridiculous. This whole thing is ridiculous. But life is unfair and ridiculous.

So, I guess the decision has been made for us. What do you think?

Love, Sheylara
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Categories: Life
21
Jan 14

First, allow me to admit that I’m an awful decision-maker. I’m quite possibly the worst decision-maker in the whole world, and that is no casual boast.

For example, I will totally forgo having a meal if I can’t decide what to eat, because copping out is just easier. I could write a whole post about this affliction of mine but I can’t decide whether I should.

Well, let’s just say that a long history of bad decisions on my part has led to crippling fear and inability in the area.

 

Indecision

 

So, this wedding thing has plagued me for two months now. Piers and I were married quietly in Singapore on 7 October 2013. We planned to have a wedding in England on 14 June 2014. I planned to start planning the wedding once I returned to England on 21 November 2013.

Every day I sat down and did research and thought about what I wanted for my wedding: dress, invitation cards, cake, type of food, etc. After a month of doing this, a great mounting fear overwhelmed me. I was never going to get anything done because I couldn’t decide on literally ANYTHING.

I couldn’t decide which invitation card design to pick. I couldn’t decide what type of necklace to wear. I couldn’t decide whether to have champagne at the ceremony or later. I couldn’t decide what bloody time to start the wedding.

 

Pick Me! Pick Me! Pick Me!

 

Piers, seeing how stressed I was, said, “We don’t have to have the wedding, you know. There’s no point spending loads of money on it if we’re gonna be all stressed and not enjoy it.”

So I started giving that option serious thought.

Every day for a month, I thought about it. I discussed it with Piers, with my friends, with his parents. Everyone gave a lot of suggestions and ideas. They helped, and they didn’t. Because, in the end, WE still had to decide stuff ourselves.

One moment I was convinced I wanted it, the next I was convinced I didn’t. Every day, I got more and more stressed that the deadline was looming and everything’s going to be fully booked by the time I decide I want it.

 

Do what you want

 

We drew up a pros and cons list and assigned scores to every item on the list. The cons ended up with double the points. Pro: 400, Cons: 825.

The main pro is that it’s our once in a lifetime special day to share with family and friends, and mine are flying all the way to England for that.

The main cons are stress and cost. Even the most basic celebration would cost £8,000. (An average wedding in England costs £20,000.) We find it hard to justify spending any money on a wedding when we are in fact already married, plus we’re also planning to buy a new house and move out at the same time.

Still, even with the scores so clear cut, it was very hard to just say no and scrap the whole thing. And Piers refused to make any final decision because he said weddings are a girl thing so I should have the last say. (He’s as good as I at copping out.)

 

Weddings are a girl thing

 

Then, a week ago, I told myself, “Enough of this tomfoolery! I MUST DECIDE BY TOMORROW.”

To my credit, tomorrow came and I decided yes, we must do it because I don’t want to regret not ever doing it!

When Piers got home, I told him, “Yeah, by the way, I’ve decided we should do the wedding.”

His response was totally unexpected. He said, “WHAT? When did you decide?!”

“This afternoon!” I said.

“What! Why didn’t you tell me!”

“I’m telling you now!”

“Oh no, now I’m stressed!”

Then he started going through all the cons again (which did have higher marks).

I rolled my eyes and said, “Okay, let’s NOT do the wedding. I’m so cool with that.”

He said, “No! We can’t!”

“WTF.”

Long story short, it turns out he’s so undecided himself he can’t even accept a decision from me no matter which option I pick. And he also succeeded in making me unmake my decision so I felt fickle all over again.

Do we deserve a Guinness Award for the most indecisive couple ever, or what.

 

Guinness Award for Most Indecisive Couple

 

He wanted more time to think about it, so I gave him time. Days passed. We didn’t make any serious effort at deciding because it was just too difficult. We gave ourselves a deadline for decision. The deadline came and went and no decision was made.

The day after the deadline, when I pressed him, he told me I needed to give my answer first, then he’ll decide whether to go along.

I told him that I had decided first the last time, so it’s his time to decide first, now.

He said, “Seriously, I’m more or less 50-50 on it.”

I said, “Well, me too!”

Then, he said, “Let’s toss a coin tonight. It’s the only way we can ever decide.”

I said, “Okay.”

And that was how we ended up deciding that the best way to decide whether to have a wedding or not is to toss a coin.

To be continued (after coin toss)…

Love, Sheylara
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Categories: Life
16
Jan 14

Right, I know, and I know you know, that I have been very slow at updating my blog.

Well, I’ve been very busy, you know.

I’ve been busy with, oh, you know, the usual stuff, such as staring at the wall, staring at that mess that keeps piling up against said wall (and other walls), sitting on my chair like a statue, imploding (not literally) from the millions of to-do items doing the Gangnam Style in my head, and starving myself (literally) because I’m too busy doing all of the above to eat.

 

Mess. Wat r u doing. Mess. Stahp.

 

I know, right? I’m the epitome of productivity. I’m also very proud to say that I’ve already achieved so much even though we’re only halfway into January. (That mess by that wall is MASSIVE. So is the hemorrhage pool in my brain.)

Anyway, since I’m always so busy doing so many very important things, there is always the danger of tasks slipping through the cracks and not getting done, what with the old noodle not being what it used to be (soggy and full of holes, as it were). So I decided that I had to become more productive than I already am.

My solution was to adopt a Moleskine Bullet Journal. All those sad little Moleskines sitting in warehouses or dusty bookshelves waiting to be rescued and given a good home. I can increase my already amazing productivity AND do a good deed at the same time.

(In the unlikely event that you have no idea what I’m talking about, this is Bullet Journal and this is Moleskine. Now, try and finish reading this post without exploding with excitement.)

 

Bullet Journal

 

I mulled a long time over what colour Moleskine to buy, white or pink. Colour is very important because it affects our moods (scientifically proven) as well as our luck (not as scientific). A feng shui master I consulted years ago told me that white is not a good colour for me, because it makes events in my life go less smoothly.

Unfortunately, I have a tendency to favour white due to my birth elements. Which is just dandy, isn’t it? I imagine there is some rascally creator floating around in the stratosphere chuckling evilly to himself as he fiddles with our DNA to make us want things that are bad for us.

Anyway, I proceeded to disregard the feng shui advice and got myself a white Moleskine. After all, I routinely ignore the advice of doctors, nutritionists, parents, well-meaning friends and religious fanatics, because I will do exactly damn well what I want to do, so what the hell.

 

White Moleskine

 

It’s so gorgeous I wanted to adopt another one immediately. So that I can pretend to be even more hipster than I already am pretending to be. But Piers is having none of that. He doesn’t exactly control my spending but he has this fake stern stare which is immensely cute and makes me want to drop everything and go smother him with affection.

Evil distracting man is evil.

So, I’ve had the Moleskine for three days now, and bullet journalling has already increased my productivity by 300%! You write tasks down, you do the tasks, you tick ‘em off, you doodle cute little hearts all over your journal to motivate yourself. Perfect system. (Although that last part with the hearts is my invention.)

On the first day, I managed to do the laundry, reply one e-mail and drink 1 pint (568 ml) of filtered water.

On the second day, I watered our basil plant (wow), replied two e-mails (I’m unstoppable) and drank 2 pints of water. TWO!

I think I should slow down for a bit now because this steeply exponential increase in my productivity is only going to cause a literal implosion due to my mind not being able to handle my newfound greatness.

 

Pow!

 

Moderation is very important, you know. Therefore, I shall now have to end this post, which has a reached moderate length.

And if I have inspired you in any way, like, with my awesome productivity, don’t forget to thank me.

You’re welcome.

Love, Sheylara
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Categories: Miscellaneous